Looking at the Airbow (Real life commercial pneumatic arrow rifle), it’s… quite impressive. It seems to have power comparable to most modern crossbows, and with a high-pressure pump you can allegedly “reload” it in around 30 seconds, or 5 turns in our numbers. Which is what it currently is. Of course that’s 30 seconds to reload the tank for 8 shots, we spend 30 seconds to reload one arrow, so interpret that as you will.
Of course that doesn’t account for attaching the pump and all, but any self-respecting survivor would have it integrated anyway. Taking reality into account makes it far harder to balance things. It seems that most of the existing numbers may have to remain as they are, with a couple of minor alterations, perhaps even reducing the reload time of the PBD.
That said, that doesn’t mean we can’t balance it in sneaky ways. Like I said before, balancing it by requiring special equipment to reload it might even be an option. Having to somehow build a high-pressure hand pump to use it would be fairly cumbersome. As would requiring special arrows like the Airbow, and giving them far less durability and/or greater crafting requirements.
That said, we could just handwave it and say that a survivor can’t possibly put together an effective 3000 PSI system, and limit pneumatics to around half their current damage. Or even make pneumatic weapons findable only, but that might be a bit mean.
Weight and volume is another option. A crossbow is comparatively quite light compared to a pneumatic weapon. Maybe they should just be horribly unwieldy?
Personally I’m of the mind to heavily reduce the accuracy of the existing PBD and maybe even it’s capacity. I worry though, that reducing it to too few arrows would make it just another crossbow, and then how the hell do we balance it?
Basically we have three options.
- Accept reality and just let pneumatic weapons be the top end archery weapons. Bows and crossbows would all have to be scaled back in crafting difficulty to make more sense, but it would work out okay overall I think.
- Reject reality, substitute our own. Pneumatic weapons can fit a niche of rapid shots in bursts, then have long reloads and/or low damage.
- Make it impossible for pneumatic weapons to be crafted so they can only be found, and possibly experiment with making them ungodly fragile and requiring excessive maintenance due to their complexity.